“Un Ballo in Maschera” Takes Centre Stage for the Grand Finale of the 2023 Opera Season at the Filarmonico

Verdi's most passionate melodrama takes centre stage from 17 to 23 December

Francesco Ivan Ciampa conducts the Fondazione Arena Orchestra and Choir, featuring a distinguished international cast.

After more than two decades since its last appearance at the Filarmonico, the opera returns, directed by Marina Bianchi, in a timeless production set against the backdrop of the Regio di Parma, showcasing rediscovered scenes from 1913.


Un Ballo in maschera 

by Giuseppe Verdi

Sunday, 17 December - 3:30pm

Wednesday, 20 December - 7pm

Friday, 22 December - 8pm

Saturday 23 December - 5:30pm



“Un Ballo in Maschera”, a pinnacle of exceptional vocal artistry and a composition that intricately weaves melodies, passions, and twists, brings the curtains down on the 2023 Opera Season at the Teatro Filarmonico. Conducted by Maestro Ciampa, the rich ensemble cast features Luciano Ganci in the pivotal role of the Governor, accompanied by the baritone Simone Piazzola portraying his friend and unwitting romantic rival. The role of Primadonna sees alternating performances by Maria Josè Siri and Daria Masiero. Marina Bianchi's performance elegantly reconstructs the golden age of melodrama, drawing inspiration from the exquisite canvases painted by Carmignani in 1913. 

Verdi's theatrical masterpiece, “Un Ballo in Maschera”, originated from an earlier work by Auber inspired by the real-life assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden. The planned opera, “Vendetta in Domino”, faced significant censorship challenges in Naples and Rome, where it eventually debuted in 1859. The success of this performance was so immense that it contributed to the birth of the acronym “Viva V.E.R.D.I.” in pre-unified Italy. Since then, “Un Ballo in Maschera” has remained a steadfast presence in the repertoire, captivating audiences globally, including 45 performances at the Arena from 1932 to 2014 and a single appearance at the Teatro Filarmonico in 2002. Today, the opera makes a triumphant return to the Teatro Filarmonico, concluding the 2023 Opera Season in a new “historic” setting at the Regio di Parma on 17, 20, 22, and 23 December.   

The narrative shifts from the Swedish Enlightenment Court to 1600s Boston, still an English colony, where Governor Count Richard, surrounded by friends like Renato and supporters, faces brewing animosity, leading to plots to kill him. Against a backdrop of political entanglements, a profound love story unfolds, creating an irreconcilable conflict between love and loyalty. Riccardo harbours a secret love for Amelia, the wife of his closest friend Renato. Verdi's passionate music is coupled with infrequent yet perfectly balanced supernatural elements, embodied by the fortune-teller Ulrica, and humorous elements, brought to life by the light-hearted page Oscar, Riccardo's alter ego. Verdi masterfully weaves a kaleidoscope of colours and characters, showcasing psychological and orchestral finesse, along with some of the most beautiful and enduring melodies in the operatic repertoire. 

Verona will witness the stellar performances of a distinguished international cast in “Un Ballo in Maschera”. The renowned tenor Luciano Ganci, celebrated for his past successes at the Arena and eagerly anticipated for his Filarmonico debut, takes on the role of Riccardo. The illustrious soprano Maria Josè Siri graces the stage as Amelia (for the performances on 17, 20, and 23), with Daria Masiero stepping into the role on 22 December. Meanwhile, the Veronese baritone Simone Piazzola plays the character of Renato. The lively role of the page Oscar, known for his sparkling presence en travesti, will be portrayed by the talented soprano Enkeleda Kamani. The role of the mystical Ulrica will be brought to life by the mezzo-soprano Anna Maria Chiuri, while the conspirators Samuel and Tom will be skilfully portrayed by the basses Romano Dal Zovo and Nicolò Donini. Completing the ensemble are Fabio Previati as the sailor Silvano, and Salvatore Schiano di Cola, taking on the dual roles of judge and servant to Amelia. 

Taking the helm of the Fondazione Arena Orchestra's podium is the accomplished maestro Francesco Ivan Ciampa, a young and highly acclaimed conductor who has garnered praise in Verona, particularly during the summer Opera Festival. Joining forces with the orchestra, the Choir, skilfully prepared by Roberto Gabbiani, will play an active role on stage, collaborating with mimes, extras, and Fondazione Arena’s technicians. 

Under the expert direction of Marina Bianchi, the production showcases the timeless scenes crafted by Giuseppe Carmignani for the Teatro Regio in Parma in 1913, coinciding with Verdi's centenary, which was also commemorated in Verona with the very first Aida at the Arena. In collaboration with the Auditorio de Tenerife, the Parma institution has meticulously restored and rearranged the canvases. Spearheading this effort is Leila Fteita, serving as the coordinator for stage space and props. The production also features new costumes designed by Lorena Marin and lighting by Andrea Borelli. 

Following the premiere on Sunday, 17 December at 3:30pm, “Un Ballo in Maschera” will have subsequent performances on Wednesday, 20 December, at 7pm, Friday, 22 December at 8pm, and at the earlier time of 3:30pm on Saturday, 23 December for the final matinee. 

Tickets are available at https://www.arena.it/it/teatro-filarmonico. Season tickets and individual tickets for the amazing upcoming 2024 Season are already on sale.  

“The Teatro Filarmonico – also known as ‘the other face of the Arena’ – hosts opera and symphony masterpieces that are less well known or have never been performed at the Amphitheatre. ‘Un Ballo in Maschera’ – returning to this stage after a prolonged absence – is a masterpiece deserving careful rediscovery”, states Cecilia Gasdia, General Manager of the Fondazione Arena. “The upcoming show pays homage to the original style of mise-en-scene and features some of today's finest international artists, with a particular focus on talented young performers. The 2024 Season, now on sale, boasts a varied and high-quality artistic programme full of surprises, new features and outstanding artists.”

The premiere of “Un Ballo in Maschera” is dedicated to the late maestro Julian Kovatchev, who recently passed away in Korea. Recognised for his artistry and personal warmth, Kovatchev conducted over 150 evenings with artistic ensembles at the Arena and made his Verona debut in 2002 conducting this very opera. 


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